Minister for Equity Speaks at UN World Food Programme Event

Minister for Equity Joachim Henry recently delivered a statement at a major event held at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) headquarters in Rome, shedding light on the pressing challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The event, dubbed ‘WFP in SIDS: Perspectives from the Caribbean and the Pacific,’ brought together stakeholders to address specific vulnerabilities of SIDS in the face of climate change and poverty. The panel discussion is one of the events leading up to the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled for May 2024 in Antigua and Barbuda.

Minister Henry emphasized the daunting task of recovering from recurrent weather systems, describing it as “battling the wars of climate change and weather systems year after year.” He highlighted Saint Lucia’s critical vulnerability due to its size, noting that a single weather event could devastate the entire island, leaving its population without means of adaptation.

“With 25% of Saint Lucia’s population below the poverty line and an additional 25% at risk of falling into poverty in the event of a shock, our country Saint Lucia is quite susceptible despite being labeled as middle-income. That is why we need to put systems in place to ensure that we help our people overcome generational poverty. Phenomena like natural disasters could erode hard-earned gains and force individuals and communities to start over from scratch. There are also the negative effects of the global financial system on the poor, as financial pressures and restrictions imposed by the global financial system, hinder people accessing banking services and thus perpetuate a cycle of poverty. All of this underscores the urgent need for collective action to address the intersecting challenges of climate change and poverty,” noted Minister Henry.

In addition to his participation in the event, Minister Henry engaged in discussions with Cindy McCain, Executive Director of WFP, emphasizing the need for enhanced collaboration and support for SIDS. The dialogue highlighted the significance of addressing the unique needs of vulnerable populations in Saint Lucia, including single mothers caring for chronically disabled children. Minister Henry expressed appreciation for WFP’s impactful work in Saint Lucia, emphasizing its tangible investment in the lives of vulnerable households.

Minister Henry’s continued advocacy represents Saint Lucia’s unwavering commitment to uplifting its most vulnerable citizens and fostering a more resilient society.

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